A Bible reading plan without chapters and verses

Q. I would like to read through the Bible systematically over some period of time, free from chapter and verse interruptions but with approximately similarly sized sections each day, breaking at points that make some sense in context of the text. Are there word counts available for the various sections of Scripture, in order to draw up a reading plan?

Just the kind of reading plan you’re asking about has already been created. As I explain on the “About” page for this blog, I was a consulting editor to the International Bible Society (now Biblica) for The Books of the Bible, an edition of the New International Version (NIV) that presents the biblical books according to their natural literary outlines, without chapters and verses. My work with Biblica also included helping them develop a program of Community Bible Experiences (CBEs), in which groups read through the Bible following a reading plan precisely like the one you’re envisioning.

The CBE resources are now available through Zondervan, the commercial publisher of the NIV. On this site you can get a free digital sample kit that includes reading plans. All you would need to do is buy individual copies of the four volumes in which The Books of the Bible is now being published. But you can order copies through that same site.

I’d encourage you to start with one of the volumes—perhaps the “Covenant History,” Genesis through Kings—and see how it goes. I imagine that you’ll ultimately want to get all four volumes and read through the whole Bible following the natural literary forms of the books rather than the later artificial chapter and verse divisions. Happy reading!

Author: Christopher R Smith

The Rev. Dr. Christopher R. Smith is an an ordained minister, a writer, and a biblical scholar. He was active in parish and student ministry for twenty-five years. He was a consulting editor to the International Bible Society (now Biblica) for The Books of the Bible, an edition of the New International Version (NIV) that presents the biblical books according to their natural literary outlines, without chapters and verses. His Understanding the Books of the Bible study guide series is keyed to this format. He was also a consultant to Tyndale House for the Immerse Bible, an edition of the New Living Translation (NLT) that similarly presents the Scriptures in their natural literary forms, without chapters and verses or section headings. He has a B.A. from Harvard in English and American Literature and Language, a Master of Arts in Theological Studies from Gordon-Conwell, and a Ph.D. in the History of Christian Life and Thought, with a minor concentration in Bible, from Boston College, in the joint program with Andover Newton Theological School.

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